Chilmark will choose new selectman
On April 28, Chilmark voters will go to the poles to choose a replacement for Alex Preston, who has decided not to seek a fourth term on the Chilmark board of selectmen. The candidates are Mary Murphy Boyd, 25, a teacher at the West Tisbury School, and J.B. Riggs Parker, 70, a retired corporate lawyer and money manager.
Ms. Boyd is the daughter of Chilmark commercial fisherman Chris Murphy and Vineyard schoolteacher Barbara Murphy, and she is the granddaughter of Chilmark painter Stan Murphy. Ms. Boyd attended the Menemsha School and graduated from MVRHS in 1996. A 2000 graduate of Smith College, she is at work on a masters in education. An EMT with the tri-town ambulance since 1996, she is now an assistant coordinator. She describes herself as "Island through and through," and says that she didn't have the urge to get away that some of her peers had.
Ms. Boyd told The Times that her philosophy of town government is, "Set up the framework and then get out of people's way."
Mr. Parker has also made a choice to live on Martha's Vineyard, moving here in mid-career "to raise my children in a simpler, more rural setting." Five of his children attended the Menemsha School, and seven were graduated from MVRHS.
Mr. Parker graduated from Princeton and, after two years in the army during the Korean War, the University of Virginia law school, where he was editor of the law review. Living in Philadelphia, he specialized in corporate and securities law and later was head of administration of a money management firm and president of a mutual fund. Moving to Chilmark in 1974, he became active in town affairs, serving on the planning board, writing some of the zoning bylaws and working with the Martha's Vineyard Commission. He also served a stint as the Vineyard member of the Steamship Authority.
Mr. Parker told The Times that his philosophy is that government should serve the people with the least amount of interference in their lives, and that the processes of government should be open to public inspection: "Keep it simple - keep it open," he said.
The Times asked both candidates the same three questions.
Is Chilmark in danger of turning into a community for only wealthy residents? If so, what should be done to make housing more affordable for young persons and middle-income persons?
Mr. Parker said that affordable housing is a problem and added that all of Martha's Vineyard is in the same danger. However, he added, "Chilmark, contrary to popular characterization, is not populated primarily by 'the wealthy.' This is not to say that we do not have some wealthy residents. We do, and they pay a large portion of our taxes. Ironically, this is significant to the affordable housing dilemma." Mr. Parker went on to explain that young people can afford to carry higher mortgage payments here because taxes are lower. Seniors on fixed incomes also depend on taxes staying low. "If we were to edge out those who depend on lower taxes, Chilmark would be yet more open only to the wealthy."